Crazy Holi Celebrations in Goa with Video!

How many mornings start out with you opening your front door to a bucket of blue water in your face? Followed by a sneak attack bucket poured from the balcony… It happens every year in Goa and this was my first year to celebrate.

I have a video of our day at the bottom that I just LOVE!

holi goa indiaAfter my water attack. Yes, as Ben kept reminding me, I do look like a 12 year old boy. I had to borrow his shorts because I didn’t want to ruin mine!

The springtime festival Holi, also called the festival of colors or festival of love, is most Indians favorite time of the year whether Hindu or not. The festival signifies good beating evil and a time for forgive and forget. 9/10 Hindus I asked had no clue why Holi got started- but wiki tells me Holi is about being devoted to Vishnu and his triumph over his evil aunt (Holika).

The color is because Krishna was born cursed with blue skin, which he was quite insecure about. His mother had him approach a girl, Radha, and color her face so they could become a couple.

What is Holi Like?

Kids and adults alike run around all day chasing and “playing holi” with buckets of water and fistfuls of colorful powder. You might get it thrown straight into your mouth and eyes or you might get it gently wiped on your cheeks- it’s all fair game! The water is sometimes died with powder. We had bucket upon buckets of water thrown into our car as we drove around with the windows down.

I can’t imagine this holiday going over so well in America.

Everyone is in high spirits and most people are the street are playing, not watching. You can throw paint on a 100 year old woman if you want to, no disrespect there! You can take a random baby and spin them around; people will laugh! People run around with squirt guns and drive around (like we need) sneaking up on people.

People will play music from big speakers at parties set up along the street. Holi is a time when bhang (a form of cannabis) is encouraged and not an arrest-able offense. Many  Most people are drunk.

Some men will use this as a time to grope women. Gross, but true, as one guy tried and failed with me! You can see Ben push him off in the video, so he goes for Ben instead. It’s such a happy environment it leaves the girl wondering if she should get mad or just pretend it didn’t happen- which is exactly why the men choose Holi to do this. Bummer. The other environmental negative is some villages lose days worth of their water supply.

Goa Holi Video (make sure to watch in HD)

It was a chaotic day! You’ll see a party in Mapusa, the villages of Parra, and a restaurant in Assagao. This was my first GoPro attempt and I loved filming! Hopefully will get better at editing on the next one. Also, after you watch it my other youtube video might play (a ladyboy crew singing Moulin Rouge). I tried to change it, but really- you’re lucky I could even figure out how to use iMovie and get this video up! Baby steps…

Practical Tips:

Holi paint will eventually come out of your skin and dark hair. It came out of some of our clothes but not all, so wear something old. If you wear nail polish you can prevent your nails from staining. As of yet it has not come out of the lightest parts of my hair. I should have put coconut oil on before but didn’t realize how badly it stained. I shall have purple tips on my hair until I cut it off! The paint is not up to the same standards as the west (like you would get at color run) and the chemicals can harm animals so don’t put it on them.

holi goa india

Things I tried to get the color out of my hair (that didn’t work): coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, oil based shampoo. The internet lied to me about all of those. It’s worse on colored or damaged/dry hair.

Happy Holi!

PS: Coming to Goa? I wrote a 170-page e-book, Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living in Goa, I am confident this book is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to Goa plus it has all my secrets inside. Click here to buy it now



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rudi from the Netherlands March 25, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, great video. It made me long for India again! Good to see you’re having a great time over there. All the best, your Mumbai, Udaipur, Pushkar travel buddy.

    • Rachel Jones March 25, 2014 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Rudi!! thanks for watching it. I’m having a great time here, hope you’re well! Let me know when you come back to India :)

  2. Colleen Brynn March 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Couldn’t help but smile during your video!

    • Rachel Jones March 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      I’m glad!! I laugh at the very beginning when I say “say hi” and our friend babu giggles.

  3. Mstraveltipsy March 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    That looked amazing! Is it something I really want to experience in life it is the festival of Holi, it must be so much fun. Enjoy!

    • Rachel Jones March 27, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

      I hope you get to play holi one day! It’s a lot of fun.

  4. Em March 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous post and the vid is fab :)
    I miss Goa so much, might have to take a trip back next year sadly I can’t afford it this year! Glad you have a fab first experience of Holi but gutted at the hair situation that could put a bit of a dampner on the whole affair!
    You also educated me as I did not know why they had Holi and I loved the story of Krishna.

    • Rachel Jones March 27, 2014 at 6:15 am - Reply

      Yeah the hair thing was a little bit of a damper the next day. now almost 2 weeks later, still pink hair. wouldn’t be a prob except all the lighter bits got died, and all the darker bits didn’t- so my hair doesn’t look blonde anymore :(

  5. Agness March 26, 2014 at 5:15 am - Reply

    Holi, holi! That’s one of my favourite festivals on this planet. It’s so much fun and these colors…!!! Magnificent! I added it to my bucket list ages ago and simply can’t wait to make it to India to participate!

  6. Katie March 26, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Loved your video! How do you like the GoPro? I’m thinking about getting one for our travel gear, but haven’t made the plunge yet. I know my hair would stain too… but it seems like it was worth it!

    • Rachel Jones March 27, 2014 at 6:17 am - Reply

      I love the gopro, it kept aiming too far either up or down while it was on my head, which was a bummer but it takes good quality pics as well.

  7. The Travel Sisters March 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    We really enjoyed your post and video. Would love to experience Holi in person one day!

    • Rachel Jones March 29, 2014 at 6:40 am - Reply

      I’m glad you liked it! First time making a video, so not the best- but it was fun to mess around with.

  8. tammyonthemove March 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    That looks insane. I have been to the Holi festival in Nepal, but it seemed a bit more relaxed there. The locals all put colour on my face very gently. There wasn’t the same amount of powder masses thrown around, but it was still very good fun.

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

      For me, some people put the powder on very gently too- I think because they were nervous I was a foreign girl. But yeah overall it was very crazy!

  9. Megan Swanick March 30, 2014 at 5:40 am - Reply

    These images are beauttttiffull!!! Just wow.

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

      Thanks! most are from flickr ;) but i’ll take the credit for picking them out lol

  10. Fiona Coppertop March 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    AAAH! This looks so incredibly fun – I’m getting excited about going one day just looking at this. The coconut oil is a good tip, also…hadn’t thought about the color powder being permanent hair dye too!

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

      Yes, use the oil- don’t let your hair damper the day! I STILL have pink hair over 2 weeks later now.

  11. Christie March 30, 2014 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Holi looks like so much fun!!! I joined in on the Holi celebrations this year with our local Indian community (in Christchurch, New Zealand) and it was the best day – I can only imagine how much fun it would be in India itself! I spent a couple of months in India last year, and am hoping to return for longer, perhaps next year – would love to live there longer-term like you do! Celebrating Holi in India is most definitely on my bucket list!

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2014 at 6:25 am - Reply

      That’s great they that celebrate in NZ! Holi should be added to everyone’s bucket list, it’s so much fun! and everyone is in such high spirits :)

  12. Akanksha April 8, 2014 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Hey really really like your blog! I recently visited Goa. would have loved to meet you there. Anyways keep writing… :)

  13. Alex April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Looks AMAZING! This is totally on my bucket list. Someday!

    • Rachel Jones April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Not quite up to par with Anders’ GoPro videos, but a work in progress!

  14. Maddie December 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Hey I love ur blog so helpful to prepare me for my travels. I am going to be in India for holi and have heard of this festival called holi cow which we are thinking of going to in dehli. Have u been before.

  15. Stephen February 27, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for all the info! It looks amazing and I just bought a ticket to celebrate next week.

    Are all these pics from Holi in Goa?

    Thanks again and see you soon!

    • Rachel Jones February 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      no they aren’t!! they have links below giving them credit to the source, but the video is from last year in Goa

  16. Hannah @Getting Stamped March 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Was in India last week for Holi….my hair is stained an ugly faded pink! I just went to my stylist here in Chiang Mai and we are going to have to do a process to remove the stain $125 and then my highlights $100 hope it comes out!

  17. Arup March 7, 2016 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Love the video… Will surely give a read…
    Take oil all over body before going for Holi… It generally works for me… Rest give some time to the colours to vanish :)

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